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International students’ perceptions of the United States as a study destination have significantly improved following the election win by Joe Biden, according to new research by IDP Connect.  

A survey of more than 800 prospective international students interested in studying in the US has found more than three quarters (76 percent) have improved perceptions of the US since the 2020 Presidential Election, with 67 percent stating they are now more likely to study there.  

When asked how nine key factors would be affected by the Biden administration, respondents expected all to improve, with the welfare of international students, safety of its citizens and visitors, and post-study work visa policies perceived to see the most improvements.  

Furthermore, the majority of students (69 percent) expected the new presidential administration will have a positive effect on their home country.  

As the students surveyed were at the early stages of their journey, many indicated they are still considering other destinations. Of those surveyed, half (50 percent) were also considering Canada, while 41 percent were considering the United Kingdom and just over a quarter (28 percent) were considering Australia as their study destination in addition to the US. The improved perceptions of the US could indicate increasing competition for these three destinations in future enrolment cycles.   

The survey also showed that students from Africa were more likely to be exploring their study options in the US and Canada, while Middle Eastern and South-East Asian students tended to look at the US and UK.  

Simon Emmett, CEO of IDP Connect, said the research is a reminder that students are tuned into global political discussions. 

“Of the students who stated they have a high awareness of US politics, 86 percent reported a better perception following the election,” Mr. Emmett said.  

“Since the election in November 2020, we’ve seen higher search activity for the US, with the US now overtaking the UK in regard to international student search volumes.  

“While the new administration has a more welcoming stance towards international students than the predecessor, it will be interesting to see if student perceptions of the US as a study destination continue to improve over the long-term.”  

Mr. Emmett encouraged education institutions to review their marketing and recruitment programs to take full advantage of the change in perceptions.  

“US universities, colleges and education institutions should be looking at their recruitment strategies and practices to ensure they capture this momentum and support students in their decision-making process,” Mr. Emmett said. 

For media enquiries, please contact:  Ashton Debono, Porter Novelli, adebono@porternovelli.com.au, +61 402 978 485

Elle Butler, IDP Connect, elle.butler@idp.com

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Elle Butler02 March 2021